Teens sent to ‘unsuitable’ university to do ‘obscure’ subjects, head claims

The Telegraph is reporting claims from a headteacher that private schools are persuading students to take niche subjects just so they can get into Oxbridge  as research shows one in ten fell they have made the wrong choice.

Jonathan Taylor, head of North Bridge House Senior School Canonbury in London, also argued students are not getting the personal support they need or the right advice from schools when it comes to choosing a university. 

He claimed schools are pointing students to less popular subjects, like Anglo Saxon and Celtic studies to allow schools to claim a place at a top university.

His warning follows research earlier in the year that showed that one in 10 adults regret basing study choices on poor career advice while at school…

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Taylor, who has been a teacher for 16 years in the UK and abroad, said: “Too many schools have a tick-box approach to university admissions. As long as they get students into one or two big-name universities in the UK they think its job done. 

“They don’t take into account individual student needs or sensibilities, with the result that youngsters are sent to universities that are unsuitable for them…” 

He said: “I wouldn’t advise students to take a course simply because it was in a Russell Group university. Some courses have pretty dubious track records – but how is a youngster supposed to figure that out from a league table position and a Google search? It requires expertise…” 

Chris Ramsey, headmaster of King’s Chester and universities spokesman for HMC, said: “…More than twice as many pupils from leading independent schools go to Russell Group universities than their state school peers, largely because of the excellent teaching and support they receive, and therefore the high grades they achieve. 

“It is muddled thinking to suggest this happens because of a vague notion of tick box exercises, which does not chime with what happens at my school or any other HMC schools of which I have experience.”

More at: Teens sent to ‘unsuitable’ university to do ‘obscure’ subjects, head claims


Do you think there is anything in the argument that students – whether from private or state school – too often choose unsuitable courses to get into better universities?

Or would you say the best university is the right objective as few will ever use their degree anyway?

Please give us your opinion on this one…


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